Steve Fenton

The fundamentals of methodology

To gain the clarity of thinking that I now have in respect of methodology has taken broad reading and plenty of hard thinking. I have explored process, method, framework, management, psychology, philosophy, systems thinking, science, sociology, randomness, and business. What I have discovered is that in all these areas, there is a fundamental shared characteristic of how ideas evolve.

Thomas Kuhn describes it perfectly in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, but the same pattern can be found in almost every subject, whether academic or applied. Here comes the all important paragraph…

A good scientific theory is one that explains the largest number of phenomena with the fewest conditions. In just the same way, a good process guides the broadest set of activities with the fewest rules.

This is why it is so important to question rules, procedures, and activities that have gone unchallenged for decades. Although it is tempting to assume they have survived for so long on merit, they are the invisible weight that your organisation is carrying. You need to learn to see them, then question them, and then have the courage to drop them all in favour of a new way of working that fits the criteria of a good process.

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